Hawaii Is The First State To Ban Sunscreen Chemicals To Prevent Damaging Effects On Coral Reefs

Hawaii Is The First State To Ban Sunscreen Chemicals To Prevent Damaging Effects On Coral Reefs

Marianna Massey / Getty Images


Hawaii is the first state in America to ban the sale of sunscreen chemicals which are toxic to coral reefs and marine life in general.


The state passed a bill to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain two types of chemicals toxic to the ocean and, if the governor signs it, the ban will start in 2021.


Oxybenzone and octinoxate are destroying the oceans worldwide, according to scientists whose research has demonstrated that the chemicals break down coral by bleaching it of nutrients and disrupting the development of marine life amongst organisms such as sea urchins and algae.


Approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion ends up in coral reefs every year, according to a significant research report published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology in 2015. The highest concentrations of sunscreen were spotted in tourist-filled beaches, such as those found around Hawaii as well as thouse on the US Virgin Islands.


A study conducted in Hawaii by the nonprofit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in 2017 at the iconic snorkeling spot Hanauma Bay discovered that the almost 2,600 average everyday visitors left approximately 412 pounds of sunscreen in the ocean. Sunscreen's damaging effects can occur in concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion. That's equivalent to one drop of oxybenzone in six Olympic-sized swimming pools.


Hawaii Is The First State To Ban Sunscreen Chemicals To Prevent Damaging Effects On Coral Reefs

Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu, Patrick Baz / AFP / Getty Images


Studies also have demonstrated that the ocean pollution comes from both people who are wearing sunscreen and through wastewater streams which are sent to the sea. As Hawaii state Sen. Laura Thielen told KHON2:


"More and more people realize, as you go home and shower the water is getting treated and put out into the ocean. So really it's damaging our corals no matter whether you're wearing it on land or at the beach."

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are discovered in almost all ordinary sunscreens, such as products sold by Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat, and Coppertone, as well as several face lotions.


Still, many alternative sunscreen options, which use ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide for skin protection, are for sale. Furthermore, sun-protection clothing products rated with some degree of Ultraviolet Protection Factor — a similar system to SPF — are being manufactured by Patagonia, Australia's Coolibar, REI, Lilly Pulitzer, Athleta, and others.


Reference: Buzzfeed

Hawaii Is The First State To Ban Sunscreen Chemicals To Prevent Damaging Effects On Coral Reefs Hawaii Is The First State To Ban Sunscreen Chemicals To Prevent Damaging Effects On Coral Reefs Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 9:31 PM Rating: 5

1 comment

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